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LIVE from the Camino Caminho Português Interior - May 2022

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Wendy and I are in Viseu and we’re excited to start walking the Caminho Português Interior tomorrow!

It’s the first time we’ve been to Viseu, so we’re spending a couple of nights here before we start. We visited the cathedral yesterday, but there was a service in progress so we’ll go back today for further explorations and hopefully a stamp.

We’ve seen a lot of official signposts with arrows and shells around town, and the owner of the place we’re staying in has walked several caminos including the CPI. So even though this is another ‘remote’ camino where we don’t expect to meet many (any?) pilgrims for a while, we are feeling some of the camino spirit already.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

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Viseu’s cathedral with a Renaissance façade.

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A Portuguese TV personality, Olivia Ortiz, doing an Instagram photoshoot in the cloister of the cathedral.
 
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Albertinho

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022
Bom caminho

Viseu is a beautiful town
don’t forget to visit the museum opposite the church
close by the big square where the cathedral is, was( is);a small shop where you can buy Every thing ( except for the kitchensink and I think even that you can buy there) e.g. Nuts and bolts and hinges and other metalware. I needed one nut and the owner opened one of the million draws , took the nut and asked I euro cent for it, wrapped it in a paper bag.Here in Holland you have to buy a prepacked plastic box with one hundred of the same nuts when you need one.
then we left and he closed the shop and went for a coffee or a beer. We never will know. 😊
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 1: Viseu - Almargem: ~15km

A short day today as we eased our way back into the rhythm of the camino. The first 6km were on asphalt as we exited Viseu but after that it was mostly dirt paths through a forest of ferns, pine trees and eucalyptus, which was very pleasant.

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It wasn’t a spectacular stage but it was great to be back on the camino. Other than the forest, some other highlights were a lavadouro with a nice and new (2017) azulejo at Bassar, and traces of a Roman road towards the end of the stage.

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We are the only pilgrims at the albergue in Almargem, where it’s €3 for a bed (!), and we saw on the register that there has only been one other in the last two weeks (@nmont?). There’s a basic restaurant in town but we brought food from Viseu to cook in the albergue kitchen just in case.

Onwards and upwards (literally, from the sounds of it) tomorrow!
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Aug 2019 CF
May 2022 CP Coastal
Glad to see you are walking again. Are you going all the way to SDC??? I start the CP Coastal/Littoral on Sunday 22 May from Porto.
 
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Fred2a

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguès oct 2020
Hi,
I’m looking forward to have fresh informations about this route as I plan to walk there next fall.
I did the caminho portuguese from Lisbon last october which was perfect for me.
I am more into not too busy ways and the Interior seems to fullfil my expectations.
Bon chemin !!!
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 2: Almargem - Ribolhos: ~25km

Today was a lovely day, albeit a bit of a difficult one with over 1000m of ascent. The first 8km was in the forest, while much of the rest was on a plateau overlooking the surrounding countryside. There were a few villages along the way (including Vila Meã with its new albergue and mural), but it was mostly a very rural stage on soft surfaces.

I found it hard to capture the beauty of the stage, but here are two attempts. The first is an early morning silhouette against the light showing a pine tree and mist, while the second shows the sunlight reflecting on a pretty stream with ferns all around.

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Gronze listed today’s stage as 4/5 for difficulty and 3/5 for views. Tomorrow those numbers are reversed so in theory it will be easier and more beautiful!
 

KaridadP

happy with the past
Time of past OR future Camino
Ingles and parts of Norte (2012); Frances (2015), CPI (2017)
CPI Day 1: Viseu - Almargem: ~15km

A short day today as we eased our way back into the rhythm of the camino. The first 6km were on asphalt as we exited Viseu but after that it was mostly dirt paths through a forest of ferns, pine trees and eucalyptus, which was very pleasant.

View attachment 125595

It wasn’t a spectacular stage but it was great to be back on the camino. Other than the forest, some other highlights were a lavadouro with a nice and new (2017) azulejo at Bassar, and traces of a Roman road towards the end of the stage.

View attachment 125596

We are the only pilgrims at the albergue in Almargem, where it’s €3 for a bed (!), and we saw on the register that there has only been one other in the last two weeks.(@nmont?). There’s a basic restaurant in town but we brought food from Viseu to cook in the albergue kitchen just in case.

Onwards and upwards (literally, from the sounds of it) tomorrow!

Yes, I was the only pilgrim in Almagem back in 2017. The next stage, starting at 7am in Sept was absolutely lovely. Long, but lovely. There were no pilgrims on that walk for the next 8 days. I credit my "camino angel" for getting me through that section before I got on the Sanabres.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Great pics as always, @jungleboy. Are you using GPS tracks or just following the arrows?

I see that Gronze shows that you can start in Coimbra and head up to Viseu in 4 stages. Did you consider that or is it a time issue?


And maybe not a question for now, but at some point could you let us know what resources you found most helpful?

Bom caminho to you and Wendy.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Are you using GPS tracks or just following the arrows?
The arrows have been very good so far. Today there was one turn that we missed because the arrow must have been removed, but other than that they have been very clear. We have tracks as a backup.

I see that Gronze shows that you can start in Coimbra and head up to Viseu in 4 stages. Did you consider that or is it a time issue?
We saw that too. It’s a bit of a time issue. We had the choice of either starting in Coimbra or continuing to Muxía and chose the latter. My impression is that the Coimbra extension is pretty undeveloped (though happy to be corrected on that) and I’m surprised Gronze used it as their starting point. They even say at one point that Viseu makes the most sense as the starting point.

And maybe not a question for now, but at some point could you let us know what resources you found most helpful?
All we are using is Gronze, @gracethepilgrim’s notes in the resources section here and contact details from this document. It’s working out so far!

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 3: Ribolhos - Bigorne: ~20km

Today was such a glorious day, the best stage of this young camino so far. It had a bit of everything, from grapevines and olive trees in the early morning to several great river crossings to a riot of spring colour. There was more asphalt than yesterday (mostly the country lanes of the first 8km or so) but less elevation change, so overall I’d have to agree with the Gronze ratings on difficulty/scenery compared with yesterday.

The highlight of the day was the stepping stone crossing of the Rio Paiva. We’ve crossed rivers this way on camino before, of course, but I can’t remember any of them being as atmospheric as this one. The greenery, the wildflowers, the shimmering water, the roughly hewn stones, the sound of birdsong and of the gushing river - it all represented an idyllic countryside scene that made us feel as though we were in the Shire from Tolkien’s world. I absolutely loved it.

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Later, we walked over an ‘old bridge’ as part of another river crossing, which was also very picturesque. But the most enduring feature of the second half of the stage was the explosion of yellow all over the valley emanating from ‘broom’ shrubs that were right alongside the trail for several kilometres.

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There is conflicting information about accommodation in Bigorne. There is no albergue, but a local woman rents a room to pilgrims, so we are staying with her. There’s also an adjacent restaurant with bottles of wine starting from €3.50, so we’re all set for the night!
 
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You guys have no idea how much this thread is pulling at my heart strings!✨✨✨💓💓 I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I walked that route. I’ll be following your every steps. Thanks so much for posting, Nick and Wendy.
As usual your descriptions and photos are marvellous. Remember to pop in a food pic for me every now and then ;)
👍👏Grace
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
I'm enjoying your posts ! Are you able to share the contact info of the woman in Bigorne who rents rooms? Did you book with her ahead of time or find her by happy coincidence?
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I'm enjoying your posts ! Are you able to share the contact info of the woman in Bigorne who rents rooms? Did you book with her ahead of time or find her by happy coincidence?
Thank you! We contacted Isabel in advance. She also owns the A Giesta restaurant in Bigorne and her personal number is the same as the one listed for the restaurant on Google Maps.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 4: Bigorne - Lamego: ~18km

Today didn’t reach the heights of yesterday (or the day before) in terms of scenery but it contained enough oddities to keep it interesting!

Firstly, a dog that befriended us in Bigorne yesterday walked with us for 10km today despite Wendy’s attempts get him to turn around. His owner even called us about 8km in to see if he was with us and she was going to drive to Lamego to pick him up if he came all the way. Eventually we lost sight of him and called her back to let her know where we saw him last, so hopefully he was reunited with his family!

Secondly, a friendly local man saw us on the trail in his village and offered us wine from his cave … at 10:25am. It was white wine and quite refreshing! We talked with him for a while and he asked if we were going to Santiago. Others have asked us this too, and not just those in the service industry, so there seems to be a reasonable awareness of the camino in these parts, which is not always the case in Portugal. His cave was quite interesting too.

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Thirdly, we saw a chicken coop cut into a stone wall of a house in a village right on the camino. I just found this to be really strange; maybe it’s the Santo Domingo de la Calzada of the CPI!

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Trail-wise, we walked past a wind farm very early on (the Viseu region is the biggest producer of wind energy in Portugal) and the best scenery was in this section. Most of the day was spent walking through villages (‘un sinfin’, according to Gronze), which often seemed to merge into one and became less interesting as the day wore on.

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The entry to Lamego was quite special though, as you hit town via a hilltop church and then walk down the long Baroque staircase (similar to Bom Jesus in Braga) right into the centre of town. We have been to Lamego twice before, including on the Torres last year, but it’s always a nice place to come back to.

Finally, a weather update. After the heat of last week it rained last weekend and temperatures had cooled off by the time we started walking. But now they are rising again and it hit 30 degrees Celsius by lunchtime today (and is 27 now at nearly 9pm). Tomorrow will see similar temperatures and then a corrective storm is coming tomorrow afternoon. Thankfully we aren’t getting the 40+ temperatures and Saharan dust storms that are hitting some places in Spain, but the sky is a bit hazy. Hoping to get some sunshine for the Douro vineyards tomorrow morning and then to be finished walking by the time the storm hits!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 5: Lamego - Bertêlo: ~26km

Phew! We are grateful to have arrived at our albergue safe, sound and dry after a long, muggy day with a lot of road walking and ups and downs and a storm alert to top it all off!

We left Lamego at 7am and after much deliberation, we agreed to walk the CPI route through the Douro Valley rather than the Torres route that we walked last year. Last year’s walk was beyond spectacular on a glorious day, but the CPI route is not as impressive (though still beautiful), and it was a completely overcast and somewhat hazy day, so the light was flat and the views and photos were not as good. Still, the Douro Valley is gorgeous.

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We arrived at Peso da Régua at around 10am and felt good about our progress to that point. But the second half of the day was a bit of a slog with lots of elevation change and the impending storm hovering over us. On social media, CPI Santiago put out an alert for pilgrims from midday warning of a huge downpour, strong wind, thunder and hail!

Fortunately, we didn’t get caught in the storm and arrived at the albergue at 4pm. Two hours later, strong wind and some rain has come but the heavens haven’t really opened up yet.

As with the other two albergues we have stayed at on the CPI, this one was formerly a school. We were told upon calling yesterday that two others would be staying here tonight too. Since we haven’t met any other pilgrims yet we were curious to find out who they were; it turns out that they are not pilgrims exactly but two Portuguese guys walking the N2 (an old highway; a sort of Portuguese version of Route 66) in its entirety from one end of the country (Chaves) to the other (Faro). How crazy!
 
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jungleboy

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 6: Bertêlo - Vila Real: ~12km

A very short day today as we walked longer than our original plan yesterday, and it made sense to retain Vila Real as an overnight stop today. It’s the largest town in the area, with shops and restaurants open on Sunday, and there are no accommodation options after Vila Real for 26km so there was no real option to extend today’s stage.

It had been forecast to rain all day but when we awoke there was a dry window in the forecast for a few hours, so we took advantage of it and arrived in Vila Real before 11am with only a few spots of rain on us. In avoiding significant rainfall, we once again failed to try out our new ponchos that we bought before the Rota Vicentina and are yet to use in 16 walking days!

It was very overcast (and a bit foggy at higher altitudes) during the walk, but the view back down the valley from Assento was still the highlight of our short stage.

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Once we reached Vila Real, it actually cleared up a bit and there were some sunny patches. We had a nice but not too energetic afternoon, visiting an archeological museum and strolling through the old town, admiring the storm light on the historic buildings!

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 7: Vila Real - Parada: ~25km

With the Douro Valley now behind us, today we ventured further into the rural lands of Trás-os-Montes. While there wasn’t anything spectacular about the stage, there were many little snapshots of country life that made it an enjoyable day and one that exceeded my expectations.

The vineyards are almost completely gone now; in their place are forests, small agriculture plots, wildflowers, and the return of yellow broom shrubs after a two-day absence. If we see grapevines now, it’s on a tiny scale.

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Today’s villages were very small and had almost no services (we carried supplies for all three of our meals from Vila Real). But the villages contained a lot of stone houses and some were quite picturesque. At the end of one of them, Benagouro, there was a little waterfall overgrown with wildflowers leading to an old stone mill - probably my favourite scene of the day.

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Most of the second half of the stage was on an ecopista - a disused train line - that we enjoyed for the first 3-4km. Unfortunately the path became paved after that which, in addition to some earlier sections on the N2, meant there was more asphalt than desired today. But the good news is that Wendy has new personalised insoles and so far they are working! She has felt very little plantar fasciitis pain compared with previous caminos.

Our donativo albergue in Parada is the nicest of the four repurposed schools we have stayed in so far (though all have been quite impressive given the remoteness and relative unpopularity of the route). Naturally, we are the only ones here!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 8: Parada - Vidago: ~23km

Today was mostly flat and easily the coldest day of our CPI so far; it was 7 degrees Celsius when we set off and only reached about 15-16 degrees during our walk, both about 15 degrees lower than the equivalent temperatures just three days ago, when we were slogging up and down hills in the heat of the Douro Valley.

It was quite an eventful and interesting stage, though. We reached Vila Pouca de Aguiar early and bought supplies there; it’s a nice little town with a small but attractive centre. Soon afterwards, we stopped for breakfast at a Roman/medieval bridge, a lovely little spot for a break.

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A lot of the rest of the stage revolved around natural springs and thermal baths, the resulting turn-of-the-century culture of stately hotels and retreat spas in the area, and the subsequent collapse of that lifestyle, which was all quite fascinating to see. All but one of those grand hotels are now completely abandoned and most have been taken over by trees and vines. This one in Vidago is in the least ruined shape of all of them so it’s probably not the best example, but the spectacular afternoon storm light made it the photo of the day.

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Finally, the day’s most exciting / scary moment was an encounter with a large-ish snake, which was on the side of the path at quite an overgrown section of the trail, devouring a small bird. I walked past it at a distance and it didn’t move, but when Wendy approached, it slithered away from us. We guessed it was about two feet in length, the third snake of about that size we have seen in the last two days. Just FYI!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 9: Vidago - Chaves: ~17.5km (+5km more in Chaves!)

Today was a pleasant, flat and easy walk with the best weather we’ve had for some time (sunny, blue skies, temperatures in the mid-high teens Celsius). There’s not much to report about the stage though: lots of olive trees, no snakes, 2-3 villages and before midday we were already in Chaves.

I passed through Chaves briefly a few years ago with my family and was looking forward to returning and spending a little longer exploring the town. By late afternoon the temperature was in the mid-20s and the weather was perfect for a little photo tour.

Among the highlights of Chaves are the very interesting Roman medicinal baths (continuing our theme from yesterday), the Roman bridge with its two milestones, and the 14th-century castle keep.

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Tonight is our last night in Portugal, as tomorrow we’ll cross into Spain and end the CPI in Verín before switching to the Sanabrés and heading towards Santiago!
 
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BombayBill

Still Learning
Time of past OR future Camino
September 2022 Norte Primitivo
The trouble with all your terrific travelogues is that they cause those of us with squirrel like attention spans to lose focus of our intended plans and want to follow in your footsteps.

The daily route finding trail bulletins, the erudite cultural information and the light hearted tone makes me wonder how you find time to walk. Is it true the 2 of you travel by e-bike giving you ample time in the afternoons to write?
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
The trouble with all your terrific travelogues is that they cause those of us with squirrel like attention spans to lose focus of our intended plans and want to follow in your footsteps.
Thank you and sorry!!

The daily route finding trail bulletins, the erudite cultural information and the light hearted tone makes me wonder how you find time to walk. Is it true the 2 of you travel by e-bike giving you ample time in the afternoons to write?
🤣 Better yet, we are just using Uber for the entire route. Isn’t that what all modern pilgrims do? ;)
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
CPI Day 10: Chaves - Verín: ~25km

Today was our last day on the CPI and, unfortunately, this camino deserved a better finale. Almost the entire stage was on asphalt, including a 7km exit from Chaves on a main road. Luckily, Wendy’s improved feet can handle asphalt much better at the moment than in previous years.

Part of the problem was that the route designers didn’t seem to make any attempt to divert the camino off the asphalt, even though there were several opportunities to do so. Just by looking at maps.me, we could see trails and secondary roads leading off the road, and three times we took these alternatives, which were all preferable to the way-marked route.

That said, we saw a simple but nice Romanesque church in the morning and many more broom shrubs with their yellow flowers, and had several interesting interactions with locals on both sides of the border (one lady gave us oranges and biscuits!). Plus it was very sunny, and now we’re in Spain, and both of those things make me happy!

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Verín marks the end of the CPI. I’ll try to provide a proper summary later (and answer the ranking questions!), but overall it was a great little camino and we’re glad to have done it. We now continue to Santiago on the Camino Sanabrés, beginning with an alternate route from Verín to Ourense.

Thanks to everyone for following along!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
In Chaves, did you walk all the way across the river on the giant stones? It was an eery experience being right out in the middle of the river - walking ‘on’ water.:)
We did it on our first trip there. And yesterday I took a couple of steps across for old time’s sake!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Once you are done I'd be interested to know which you preferred - the Torres or the Interior.
The Interior, with the caveat that we only walked about half the Torres (Trancoso-Braga). The Torres had its moments but there was so much asphalt and the last few days were quite urban. The CPI is more rural and the actual walking was more enjoyable.

And I’d like a complete ranking of Torres, Interior, Geira, and all the other Portuguese routes you’ve walked!
I am still weighing up whether I liked the CPI or the Geira more. So while we all wait with baited breath for that decision 🤣, let me do tiers instead.

Tier 1: Nascente

Tier 2: Geira, CPI, CP Central from Porto

Tier 3: Torres, CP Lisbon-Porto
 

amsimoes

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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A small story of the border neste Chaves.

Couto Mixto
Vila Real > Montalegre > Tourém
This is an area located north of the serra do Larouco intermediate basin of the River, Rooms in Galicia (Spain), in the current province of Ourense which borders Tourém. His institution was connected, since the late Middle Ages, the castle of Piconha, and later to the House of Braganza. With an area of approximately 27 km2, had an organization itself and was not connected or Portugal or Spain. Its inhabitants had the privilege of being able to give asylum to the escapees of Portuguese or Spanish justice, to provide soldiers for a Kingdom or the other, not to pay taxes, the freedom of trade and cultivation. Until the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, in 1864, the inhabitants elected freely the Spanish or Portuguese nationality. From that date, his domains passed to Spain's sovereignty, integrated in the municipalities of Calvos de Randín (villages of Santiago and Rubiás) and Baltar (village of Meaus or Meãos). On the other hand, passed to Portugal's sovereignty the so-called "peoples promiscuous", hitherto divided by the line of the current streak Tourém (Montalegre) or Soutelinho da Raia, and Lama de Arcos (Chaves).
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
Frances - 2009
Portuguese Interior (2014)
Hadrian's Wall (2017)
Porto to SdC ( Seaside) 2019
It was 8 years ago that I pilgrimed the Interior and your journal was a treat to read. I described it as being half as long as the Frances' but twice as hard. Those river valley jaunts are certainly challenging. Thank you for your posts!
 

jungleboy

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nycwalking

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Time of past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Time of past OR future Camino
So many since 2003.
Thank you for all your support on all platforms!

Now that I am home, I am sorting through photos and I just created a Flickr album of 50 favourites from the CPI. Here it is for anyone interested: Caminho Português Interior 2022.
Nick and Wendy - this is a super collection of photos. You certainly have an eye ! Thanks for taking the time to put this together and share. 👍🙏
 

AJGuillaume

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